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Biowaste energy plant coming to Conyers
An artist's rendition of the anaerobic facility.

Conyers City Council heard a presentation on a new $28 million facility to turn yard waste and restaurant grease into fertilizer as well as gas for electrical power.

Planned by South Carolina-based First Generation Energy, the facility would be located on a 5-acre site on Old Covington Road next to Pratt Industries.

Operating under the name Conyers Renewable Power, the facility will be an "anaerobic digester" that uses naturally occurring bacteria to ferment the waste into useful products.

"For lack of a better term, we're building crockpots," said First Generation Energy's Daniel Rickenmann, explaining the facility's four digester tanks.

A dozen new jobs will be created, Rickenmann said.

Questioned by council members, Rickenmann said all waste and new products would be sealed inside the tanks and the building, including by negative air pressure so that no odors can come out. The tanks create no waste water, he said, and any incidental water from cleaning will be placed in the tanks.

The construction schedule is unclear, though Rickenmann told the News the company intends to start by the end of the year. It will take about 10 months to build and two to three months to ramp up production.

In other City Council business:

- The council approved a $19,900 public works plan to improve drainage on East View Road to enable its further repair. The work, conducted by Jacobs Engineering Group, could include "minimal blasting," said Brad Sutton, the city's director of public works and planning. Groundwater from an unknown source is a problem in the area along East View Road between East View Way and the city limits near Norton Road. The work will include acquiring part of a parcel at East View Road and Milstead Avenue partly to add pedestrian ramps.

- The council also approved a five-year update to the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan that will be the subject of a future public hearing. The current plan, adopted in 2004 and delivered to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), covers 20-year goals in economic development, land use, natural resources, community facilities and housing.

The plan must be updated regularly, but a full update is a major and expensive process, said Marvin Flanigan, director of the department of planning and inspections. The current update, known as the "Short Term Work Program," will set useful goals and satisfy ARC until the next major revision is due, Flanigan said.